Updated: May 7
Summer is nearly here, only months away. However, the country feels like a simmering pot when someone suddenly increases the temperature and walks away, leaving the pot to boil uncontrollably. When I was young, we used to say that the summer heat brings out the freaks! But, in this case, the freaks are ordinary citizens on the surface, and the weather's temperature does not determine their actions. After all, so many Americans living in the United States don't acknowledge the existence of climate change or environmental concerns for the planet. Look at how well (not) Jackson Mississippi is doing water crisis or Flint, Michigan.
Instead, many treat our planet as one big giant ashtray, and they flick their tobacco butts on terra firm-a and blow smoke into the sky. All this lack of respect for the environment also extends to our inability to show compassion for one another and empathize with others who unjustly suffer at the hands of indifference.
National news headlines detailing reports of increased gun violence speak to the pre-summer danger facing everyone, especially minorities and our children that will soon be on summer school holidays! For example, recently, a young black teen mistakenly knocked at a resident door only to be shot and critically injured by the elderly homeowner. Ralph Yarl, the 16-year-old, was shot by Andrew Lester, an 84-year-old white homeowner. Police charged him with two felonies. In another incident, a young lady was a passenger in a car who pulled into the wrong driveway by mistake. Kaylin Gillis, a twenty-year-old, was shot by Kevin Monaghan in rural upstate New York. These two tragic incidents show how common mistakes can have grave consequences. A knock on a door and driveway entrance ended in violence, with the common denominator of both alleged assailants being gun owners and taking the law into their own hands. Further, the gun violence used is less than uploading the law but perpetuating the fearmonger from right-wing media and all the associated social media platforms that cater to a specific demographic.
The message goes a little like this – radical leftists are coming to take over and take your guns from you. So, we, the collective Right, must own guns and protect ourselves from the crazy liberals, Antifa, and minorities who threaten to take away your rights, liberties, and the "American way of life." Besides the far-right media, you have the remnants of Jim Crow and deep-rooted racial prejudice. Recently, a newspaper publisher recorded the McCurtain County, Oklahoma, county commissioners after an open meeting had concluded. Local commission members were caught on tape discussing lynching black people, insinuating they hit men could be hired to murder news reporters, and yearning for the good old days when they whipped black people and threw them into jail without a crime committed. The Oklahoma NAACP has requested a federal investigation. While the nation is rightfully shocked and outraged, these influential and powerful people standing for the jail, sheriff department, and commission wield considerable power over their community. Understanding their true nature and disdain for certain people is disgusting. Although not surprising, Sheriff refused to resign after calls for him to do so. How are the black members of the county supposed to feel that their Sheriff hates them along with county commissioners? I feel like this exposure was affirmation for many McCurtain residents. Moreover, the statements and sentiments of the county commissioners reveal the comfort of their racial resentment. Also, their words provide evidence that this comfort and uninhibited racial tension has grown since circa 2016; many people are way more comfortable with their racial prejudices and hatred for liberal social issues instead of preferring more guns, less inclusion, and anything progressive.
The nation is boiling over, and blood is spilling all over. The Right wishes for more division, even race-baiting for a civil war that would force people to choose sides. As if, as Americans, that is not enough to be united as compatriots. The census forecasted that in approximately 2045, white people would no longer be the overwhelming majority, so banning history subjects that discuss past atrocities like slavery and all the historical baggage from the Tulsa massacre and mistreatment of black, Latin, Asian, and indigenous people Native Americans. The legacy of sin lingers so pervasive that the Right led by Red State Republicans has looked to destroy and erase the harmful effects of white supremacy; opting to draft an agenda hinging on the past teaches children to hate themselves and, in turn, question white people. They want children to be uneducated and more easily manipulated before the growing minority base closes the gap. But how misguided do they choose to instruct children that nothing terrible happened in history and that LGBTQ people don't belong within classrooms and are allegedly unChristian (as if)?
Furthermore, states like Florida prefer a white euro Christian curriculum instruction in schools. Florida governor has signed a "Don't Say Gay" bill. He has attacked African American studies and supported book bans that leave out the significant contributions of many Americans of all backgrounds, races, gender, sex, and religion. I hope the nation, as a melting pot, can simmer down and not keep boiling. We must pay attention and realize it's not the next person's job to fix our problems and address and improve things. Silence is compliance.